Friday, February 17, 2017

scrubbies

Untitled My grandma used to make the best scrubbies (for washing dishes).

I still have a couple in my "stash".

Untitled The other day, we came across someone selling scrubbies made of the same material but in a different form.

These are stiff because they put starch on it.

After use though it should get softer (the salesman said so).

I know they will never be better than the ones my grandma made but hope they will at least get the job done.

Miss you Grandma!

p.s. have a nice weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

square furniture stand

Untitled This past weekend was supposed to be snowy or rainy and it was neither, so we headed out.

We went back to Square Furniture Stand for lunch.

This time around Satoshi had their BLET (bacon lettuce egg tomato) sandwich...650 yen.

And I had their Salad Dutch Baby...650 yen.

We also ordered coffees so our total came out to 2000 yen (tax included).

Untitled Look at Satoshi's sandwich...huge!

Even though it was super messy eats, he thoroughly enjoyed this eating it with a knife and fork.

It was my first time having a dutch baby and a savory one at that.

I loved the poofy pancake topped with bacon, lettuce and tomato.

We'll definitely have these again and be back!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

tamori-style shogayaki

Untitled Recently on tv there was someone raving about Tamori's favorite shogayaki (pork ginger).

Tamori is a popular figure in Japanese culture that hosts many shows.

I went online and found a recipe for the shogayaki and decided to try it.

Tamori-style shogayaki : serves 2 : Tamy Blog

300 grams pork loin, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
some flour

Sauce
3 tablespoons shoyu
3 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
ginger

Coat meat with flour
Saute in pan
Add sauce

NOTES: this was super easy and tasty. If you use a non-stick pan, you don't need to add any oil.

I didn't coat the meat with flour (wanting to cut some of the carbs out), but realized that I should coat it the next time to keep the meat tender and juicy.

I only made half the amount of meat for the two of us and also cut back the amount of sauce.

This was good with rice.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

anchovy potato salad

Untitled There is a tiny bar in Osaka that I've been seeing on social media and it seems by the amount of photos uploaded that their most popular dish is an anchovy potato salad.

Satoshi and I have tried to eat there, but it is always crowded, so we've never been able to get in.

Anyway, since I had some potatoes, I wanted to try to make it.

Of course, since I've not actually tried it, I don't know what it is supposed to taste like...so I made up my own version.

Kat's Anchovy Potato Salad : serves 2 depending on your serving sizes

6 fingerling sized potatoes, peeled and diced

Dressing : adapted from "Everyday Salads" : Masaki Higuchi
2 tablespoons olive oil
anchovy paste about 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon of grated garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
freshly ground pepper
couple dashes of dried dill
1 tablespoon mayo

Mix dressing and set aside
Cook your diced potatoes and when tender, drain
Mash potatoes slightly and cool slightly
When potatoes are warm, add dressing.
Enjoy warm or chilled.

NOTES: this was delicious warm, nice with wine. We also had it the next day, chilled with beer.

I think it would be nice on toasted baguette also.

I am thinking to add some balsamic vinegar in place of the white wine vinegar and/or capers next time.

Untitled p.s. Happy Valentine's Day...we celebrated on Saturday with all sorts of sashimi (raw tako with ponzu, aji tataki (minced horse mackerel) & bincho maguro (albacore tuna)), anchovy potato salad & other nibbles.


Monday, February 13, 2017

this and that

Untitled What do you do during lunch?

I used to eat my lunch in front of the tv, but these days have been staying away from the television/internet as most programs only have been talking about US politics...

So now, I listen to Kamasami Kong on the radio. (If you grew up in Hawaii you may know who he is...blast from the past, yeah?!)

After eating, I read magazines or write in my journal...

I recently reconnected with this illustration kit that I had purchased awhile back.

When I got it, I thought it would be easy and fun.

While it is fun, it isn't easy.

You trace the item a couple of times then try your hand at it.

Untitled The back side of the paper has blank grids and a blank space at the bottom.

The kit teaches you 1000-something items...I have a (long) ways to go...

Untitled Hope you have a nice week!

Friday, February 10, 2017

okara mochiko chicken

Untitled Yesterday, we had some flurries and then we had some rain.

Satoshi didn't need dinner.

Most times when this happens, I buy something because I don't really like cooking for one.

I was watching a program and they mentioned that if your want to fry with dried okara, you should mix it with some flour.

Untitled So that is was I did...mixed some dried okara with some mochiko (rice flour) & regular flour.

I didn't deep fry, just pan fried.

This version turned out better than when I tried it before with only the dried okara.

I have some leftovers, so I think I may turn this into onigirazu for one of our lunches this weekend...

Hope you have a nice weekend.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

makeshift

Untitled Most homes in Japan do not have central heating.

You could look at that as being a "bad thing"...but I like the fact that I can use my hallway as a makeshift refrigerator...storing veggies and other items that don't fit into my "real" fridge.

Do you have central heating in your home?

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

thankful

Untitled Thankful for another year around the sun...for friends, family & good health.

Yesterday, Satoshi had to work late, so I celebrated on my own...

With champagne...

La Maison du Chocolat's apricot eclair & tiramisu.

Glad you are all a part of this adventure...thank you!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

chocolate season

Untitled With Valentine's a week away, chocolate season is in full swing.

I didn't check out Salon du Chocolat (Osaka) this year, as the space that they hold this event at is so teeny and it is always so krazy crowded!

I hear the Salon du Chocolat in Tokyo is now being held at a huge convention area called Tokyo Forum.

I am still hoping we can check out the one in Paris soon!

The other week though, I did check out Hankyu's chocolate fair...

Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki's canel├ęs in plain and chocolate. I enjoyed the chocolate one more as it was tender, the plain seemed a bit overcooked and hard.

Osaka Tsuruya Hachiman's chocolate dorayaki...chocolate is mixed with sweet bean paste...the chocolate flavor was super light.

Kamakura Ca.ca.o.'s dark chocolate tarte...super rich! The crust was flaky and the inside chocolate pudding was really rich and chocolatey.

Untitled Over the weekend, I dragged Satoshi to try this...Es Koyama's soft serve.

Ethiopia Blue Nile Coffee paired with Peruvian Piura 63% chocolate. We enjoyed this. It wasn't too sweet nor were either flavors overpowering.

It was nicely balanced.

Love this time of year...

Monday, February 06, 2017

shimabara tea

Untitled Recently there was a Nagasaki Fair in Umeda.

We love these fairs because it brings different food items to us without the extra online shipping fees.

Shimabara tea is a relatively new company, and we were able to sample (and purchase) some of their teas.

The large red package is their organic green tea.

The smaller red package is their black tea and the yellow package is their black tea with ginger.

(The ginger tea and black tea are delicious and the ginger one has a nice kick!)

The man selling these teas was very knowledgeable.

Untitled He suggested we put some of the organic tea with ice for two hours and let the ice extract the tea...

Untitled So I tried doing it his way...

Untitled except I didn't have a tiny pot to do this in, so I made my own...

Untitled After an hour it looked like this.

Untitled After two hours the tea was a really light green but it wasn't bitter.

Untitled He then suggested that we add some cold water (drink it), then some warm water (drink it), then some hot water (drink it).

By the time we tried it with some hot water, the tea was a little darker green and a little cloudy.

There was a slight bitterness to it too.

Untitled His last suggestion was that we "eat" the used tea leaves because this green tea is organic.

So we tried it with a little ponzu (citrus soy sauce) like he also suggested...delicious! kind of like spinach, only a little bitter.

We're glad we tried this and will continue to keep an eye for them in the future since they do not sell online.

Friday, February 03, 2017

setsubun

Untitled Today is Setsubun, which I've written about in detail here.

It is a yearly ritual which is held every February 3rd, the day before the first day of Spring for the Japanese Lunar calendar.

In Osaka, we silently eat ehomaki, uncut sushi, facing a specific direction that changes from year to year, while making a wish. (This year's direction is hoku-hoku-sei (N-N-W)).

Since I didn't have time to buy or make ehomaki, and since there are so many non-traditional versions of ehomaki out there, we're eating "eho-spam musubi" this morning.

The weather is supposed to warm up over the weekend and then the weather will go back to cold next week.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

menu

Untitled It's that time of year when I get together with my host-mom & my host-brother's wife for lunch.

Today, we went to Menu, the tiny restaurant nearby that Satoshi and I love.

The food is always delicious (that pork ragout was so tender!) and it was nice to spend some time with them.

Thanks for a great day!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

nagaimo

Untitled Have you cooked with nagaimo (chinese yam)?

I hadn't until recently.

Apparently it also goes by the name yamaimo (mountain yam) & tororo.

You may have seen tororo gohan or tororo soba on menus...that's the white stuff that they top the rice or soba with.

I don't care much for it because it is slimy.

Some people are allergic to it.

I recently started adding it to okonomiyaki.

It helps to make the okonomiyaki "puff" up.

Untitled I'm not too sure where I scribbled this recipe down from...Makes 2

3 leaves cabbage, julienned
75 milliliters dashi (stock, cold brewed)
1 egg
70 grams flour
60 grams nagaimo, grated
2 slices pork belly, halved

Toppings:
okonomiyaki sauce
mayo
katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes)
aonori (green kelp)
benishoga (red ginger)

Beat the egg with the nagaimo then fold into the cabbage, flour.
Use the dashi to loosen the batter up. (It should kind of be like pancake batter, but a little thicker.)
Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan.
Put half of the batter and cook for about 5 minutes.
Before flipping, place your sliced pork belly onto the okonomiyaki.
Flip carefully and cover.
Let cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Flip over once again and top with your favorite okonomiyaki sauce and toppings (I sometimes top ours with kimchee).
Repeat using the other half of the batter and make another okonomiyaki
Enjoy!

NOTES: When cleaning the nagaimo, I used a peeler. It is really slippery so be careful while peeling off the "skin".

I actually tried this with some dried okara and some flour...but would stick to all flour.